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Senate Temporarily Restores New York City’s Rent Control Law

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Housing Advocates protest rent regulations at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, June 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Housing Advocates protest rent regulations at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, June 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York’s Senate temporarily restored New York City’s rent control law Friday until a longer term solution can be negotiated by midnight Monday.

The extension is retroactive to its expiration earlier this week and runs until midnight Monday, so all 2.5 million men, women and children in more than 1 million rent controlled apartments will be protected from any rent hikes or eviction landlords might have sought after the bill lapsed.

Lawmakers are now trying for an agreement on a long-term fix, a thorny issue made even more complicated by a deal brokered by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo to link the rent-control measure with a bill that would cap the growth in property taxes at 2 percent a year statewide.

Senate Democrats Are Confident A Long-Term Rent Control Extension Can Be Agreed Upon. 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck Reports.

Democrats want rent control while Republicans want the tax cap.

New York City Democrats in the Assembly and Senate and Cuomo want to strengthen the rent law so thousands of more constituents don’t face spikes in rent and thousands more apartments don’t leave the program under some provisions Democrats have long criticized.

Republican senators, however, whose upstate and Long Island constituents don’t benefit from rent control, want to simply extend most recent law. Landlords who are major campaign contributors have pushed for that.

The law that dates to 1946 lapsed Wednesday night over a political fight. The bill to simply extend the law until Friday night for more negotiations was first rejected by Democrats, then by much of the Republican majority angry that New York City Democrats wouldn’t provide the votes that were expected to pass it.

Democrats were protesting their limited role in those negotiations, fearing that Republicans would win with a straight extension of what Democrats consider a flawed law for several years.

On Friday, similar fights broke out in the Senate. First there was an agreement on a new bill to temporarily extend rent control until Monday at midnight. Then that agreement fell apart, a special session was threatened, and the deal finally went through, all to extend the law three days.

Senate Democrats claim Wednesday night’s protest vote made its point and will result, with Cuomo’s effort, in a long term extension that better protects tenants.

“We felt on Wednesday that there was no momentum going forward,” said Sen. Adriano Espaillat, a Manhattan Democrat.

“There is finally some knocking of heads together in negotiations,” said Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan.

Republicans said Democrats chose politics over their people.

“Revisionist history won’t change the fact that the Senate Democrats chose partisanship over leadership … jeopardizing affordable housing for many of their own constituents,” said Scott Reif, spokesman for the Senate’s Republican majority.

Sen. Diane Savino of Staten Island, a member of the small independent Democratic caucus, had called the Wednesday night fight “the worst of political games.” Cuomo had called it “unacceptable” and threatened to keep the Legislature in Albany over the weekend if it didn’t pass the temporary extension.

The Democrat-led Assembly easily passed the temporary extensions on Wednesday and Friday.

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(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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